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February 25, 2014

CFA Media Mixer 2014: Meet this Year’s Artists

It’s hard to believe that our little toddler of a fundraiser, CFA MEDIA MIXER, turns three this year (right?!). At the heart of each year’s event is the premiere of 3 video collaborations made entirely with footage from CFA. More specifically, we ask three artists and three musicians to team up with one another to create and score a short film using digitized footage from our vault. We then screen each pairing’s finished film (sound & image) at the Hide Out as part of our annual fundraiser.

We’re already hard at work organizing this year’s MEDIA MIXER (Thursday, June 19th at the Hideout). In fact, just last week we confirmed this year’s CRAZY TALENTED line up of artist pairings, and we’re delighted to share them with you (filmmakers listed first, followed by musicians):

Lori Felker AND Cheer-Accident
Deborah Stratman AND Olivia Block 
Latham Zearfoss AND Bastardgeist 
More on this year’s artists…
THE FILMMAKERS:
Lori Felker chose Filmmaking as her official second language in 2003-ish, bumping German into third place. Eventual fluency is important to her, so she employs many forms/formats, practices frequently with others, and tries hard not to shy away from expressing her thoughts on human behavior, participation, frustration, failure, in-eloquence and political irritants. Lori has many lives to live simultaneously. They currently live, make films/videos, teach, project, program, and compulsively collaborate in Chicago.
http://www.felkercommalori.com/
Deborah Stratman is an artist and filmmaker interested in landscapes and systems. Recent projects have addressed freedom, sinkholes, surveillance, the paranormal, sonic warfare, faith and comets. She lives in Chicago where she teaches at the University of Illinois.
http://www.pythagorasfilm.com/
Latham Zearfoss is an artist and cultural producer living and working in Chicago. His artwork often centers on reclaiming historical and mythological texts, and revising them to incorporate radical notions of love and sex, possibility and probability. His commitment to art and activism has also manifested in the creation of sporadic, temporary utopias like Pilot TV and Chances Dances. Latham graduated from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in 2008 and the University of Illinois at Chicago with an MFA in 2011. He has exhibited his work internationally and all over the U.S.
http://lathamzearfoss.org/
THE MUSICIANS:
Bastardgeist is Chicago-based songwriter and performer Joel Midden. On his latest release Infinite Lives, he has crafted a lush and dizzying album about memory and displacement. Through nine, kaleidoscopic songs, Midden—featuring contributions from Sam Scranton of Volcano! (Leaf Label), Oliver Barrett of Bleeding Heart Narrative (Tartaruga Records), and James Mabbett of Napoleon IIIrd (Brainlove Records)—employs hypnotic kalimba cycles, warm string arrangements, haunted samples, and ethereal vocals to craft an album that is at turns nervous and peaceful, fragile and ecstatic.
http://bastardgeist.bandcamp.com

Olivia Block creates original sound compositions for concerts, site-specific multi-speaker installations, live cinema, and performance. Her compositions often include field recordings, chamber instruments, and electronic textures. Additionally, she performs multi-speaker electronic compositions, and compositions for inside piano and objects. Her latest LP/download release, Karren (Sedimental, 2013), an electroacoustic and orchestral piece performed by Chicago Composer’s Orchestra, has been chosen as “Best of 2014″ by The Wire, Pitchfork, and Artforum, among other publications.
http://www.oliviablock.net/
https://soundcloud.com/olivia-block
Hailing from the singularly vibrant musical hotbed known as Chicago, CHEER-ACCIDENT has been a creative, vital force in rock music for over 20 years. They constantly strive to surprise their audiences and themselves through relentless reinvention. From dreamy pop to angular art-rock, CHEER-ACCIDENT strikes a powerful balance between personalized and unique studio wizardry and the visceral excitement of a well-honed, explosive live rock band. The band is a quintet at its foundation, but they often presents themselves in various configurations…including this year’s CFA Media Mixer lineup of Jeff Libersher (guitar, vocals),Thymme Jones (drums, vocals), Evelyn Davis (piano, vocals) & Dante Kester (bass).
http://www.cheer-accident.com/

More news to come! but in the meantime, you can view CFA MEDIA MIXER 2012 collaborations here & 2013′s here.



!!EXCITING UPDATE!! Latham Zearfoss & Bastardgeist’s video collaboration will feature a live and magnetic performance by Darling Shear – poster child for all things Fabulous from the 1500′s to 1900′s.

Darling is the daughter of the sensational “PINKY SHEAR” the famous French Maid to some the worlds most fabulous burlesque performers. Darling did not want to take up a feather duster but feather boa, and Pinky Shear knew her daughter was meant to be something more than a French Maid. Darling spent many years in classical dance training at her mothers wishes and from the first moment she put on her tutu she never wanted to think of picking up anything with feathers unless it was for a costume. Although Darling loved the world of classical Ballet that was molding her she too a fancy to the freedom of Jazz dance; I mean her mother works for burlesque performers. She started to take more Jazz classes and soon became a overnight sensation with her first job she got at the age of 15 from one of her mothers Burlesque friends. Darlings love for the gyration of the hips, seductive poses, and flashy bare all quality shined so bright on that night she had audiences in the palm of her hands. And from that point on to this day every time Darling takes the stage the audience stops so they won’t miss a single pirouette turn. Now Darling performs Historical Jazz Dance re-stagings and reenactments.

 

February 11, 2014

LORD THING Restoration Complete

Reel 1 & 2 of the new restoration print of LORD THING

We recently received the 16mm restoration print of LORD THING, and boy is it beautiful! DeWitt Beall’s LORD THING (1970) is a film that documents the Conservative Vice Lords of Chicago’s near-west side and dozens of small neighborhood gangs from different parts of the city, that in time, unite forces in a common cause. Only a muddy VHS copy of the film had been circulating until CFA recently discovered 16mm prints & original elements in storage and under the care of Beall’s widow (these prints & elements now reside within CFA’s Dewitt Beall Collection). Thanks to a 2012 grant from the National Film Preservation Foundation, CFA was able to create a new restoration print from original production elements.

Maryland based Colorlab did an exquisite job creating the two reels of LORD THING from original A/B Rolls and a master 16mm magnetic track. We’re especially impressed by the improved audio quality, which is significantly richer in comparison to our existing composite prints (meaning, prints with synced imaged and sound) of LORD THING currently stored at CFA.

Interested further in the restoration process of LORD THING? Read on!

Inspection bench detail of the new restoration print of LORD THING

We were really lucky to have original production elements (A/B Rolls, Mag Tracks, etc) to create a new composite print of LORD THING. A lot of the times with restoration projects, we’re left having to make a new print from an original or master positive print (no complaints! It’s just not an ideal scenario since it often leads to some degradation of image and sound). Having original elements allowed Colorlab to produce a print comparable or perhaps even better to the original composite prints struck by Dewitt Beall & co in the early 1970′s.

We were also fortunate to have three composite prints on hand for reference during the restoration process of LORD THING. The tricky issue with these prints, though, is that we began this process with two complete copies of LORD THING (Version 1), and only 1 copy of LORD THING (Version 2), which happens to have French subtitles. In others words, there was no composite print of Version 2 without subtitles (CFA considers Version 2 of LORD THING to be the more complete as well as final version of the film). This restoration project has remedied this tricky situation, giving us (a universal “us”) a presentable preservation print of Version 2 (without subtitles) for the first time! Be on the lookout for a restoration premiere sometime this fall – we’ll be sure to keep you posted! We recommend joining our mailing list if you don’t want to miss out.

 

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